We all know the struggle and overwhelming nerves when entering a new career without the right help, guidance or connections to show you the ropes. Luckily, a mentor can help in any situation to make your transitions into new stages of your career smoother! A mentor is similar to a colleague who you would treat as a role model with invaluable guidance to help you advance through your career path. They have all the right insight from their previous years of knowledge and experience to show you how to avoid the mistakes you might make when first starting out. They’ll show you how to navigate through unfamiliar work situations, advice for dealing with burn out, or direct you towards career opportunities which newbies may not be aware of. Mentors have a higher workplace status than you and can provide you with all the necessary training and development to accelerate your career.
A work mentor is crucial to any stage of your career- whether you’re searching for your next role, adjusting to a new job or trying to gracefully leave a job. A lot of companies offer mentorship programs to connect you with people in your field of study or department. Alternatively, you can seek out a mentor by reaching out to your professional networks at school; University, or online listings for job coaches. Your peers and teachers may even be great choices to be fill-in helpers if you are struggling – but ideally, anyone with several years of experience ahead of you can be a great fit.
Mentors offer a valuable and insightful perspective on how you handle challenges or solve problems. Don’t forget, they’ve been where you have been before. Their past experiences can inform you on what is holding you back from climbing the career ladder, and how to remedy your limitations. Your flaws may not always be obvious to you but for someone with intuition and industry know-how, they can be quickly pinpointed. Having a strong relationship with your mentor will make it easy and comfortable for you to speak about your weaknesses without it feeling like a daunting confession or exposing setback, as opposed to telling a boss or supervisor.
Acknowledging your strengths goes hand in hand with being aware of your shortcomings. You should know what you’re best at doing as these are usually habits or tasks you feel most proud of completing. You may even have talents you may not
realise! A mentor who’s seen countless people complete tasks you’re currently tackling, will have an eye for how the best of the best perform certain roles, and can advise you of any potential skills you possess that would be good for certain roles. By working alongside these career coaches, you’ll be building upon your skills and knowledge to upgrade your performance at work. Better yet, a mentor can recognise potential in any current skills that you have to help you improve and create valuable strengths out of.
A key duty of your mentor is to motivate and help you fuel your passion for your career. With the right guidance and affirmations, they can inspire you to achieve your short and long-term goals, and advance your career. If you ever feel complacent or burnt out, a mentor can reinvigorate your interest and energy towards your role, so you don’t dread coming to work each day. This can include passing on information about an upcoming workshop relevant to your career which might spark interest in a topic you might have forgotten or overlooked previously. Alternatively, they might even suggest you take time off to help you find time to reflect and reconnect with your enjoyment at work. Either way, anyone is susceptible to burn out, so having a mentor at hand as a safety net to guide you through your low moments can not only save your career, but give you the push you need to be better at your job than ever before.
With years of experience, mentors have a bank of knowledge to share in regards to the professional world, your industry, or simply where the best coffee around the building is. You can consider them as a friend who will catch you up on the latest industry insights, cross-department news and maybe just to help you with homework. Australian employers appreciate newcomers who can champion a professional discipline and initiative, which you can model from your mentor. There’s always more to learn and having an advisor who’s full of knowledge is very beneficial.
The third person insight of a mentor will give you insight on how you can handle difficult decisions or work situations you may not be able to take on by yourself. You might not always have the opportunity to share personal details or issues with your other colleagues, but your mentor is very much like a buddy you can discuss your feelings or mental health with. They’re a safe zone to debate topical issues and opinions or just for you to vent to without the fear of being judged while you talk it out. In the end, they’ll give you qualified advice on how to make your decisions or come to a conclusive opinion if you happen to be tossing up between difficult choices such as choosing between job offers.
If you are new to the industry, you will probably need someone to help you find an ‘in’. There’s no better way to do this than to expand and diversify your professional network, and a mentor will have access to an entirely new and different network you aren’t familiar with if you are transitioning out of University. Mentors will help you find connections with the most qualified, relevant and knowledgeable individuals who can help you access niche opportunities and wisdom to further your career and achieve your goals.
Maintaining a healthy and successful relationship with a career mentor is incredibly enriching and productive. You never know when you might hit a low point or be in dire need of guidance in unfamiliar situations, and a mentor is a trusty supporter who can give you new perspectives, help you build on your strengths, deliver relevant industry news to you and expand your professional network. You’re expanding your career options and reach in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. So start seeking out a coach who is the right fit for you to help you navigate job experiences and enhance your workplace performance.
Here at PGP Australia, we have mentors and career coaches with years of industry insight and experience who are all passionate about kick-starting the careers of the future workforce of Australia. Via our K22 Mentorship Program, participants can receive a personalised service and advice on everything Job Search, Resume, Application, Interview and Internship – related. Get in touch with us on our Contact Us page for more information on this program.